I-TEAM: Intruders ransack McBean Elementary 3 nights in a row
Monday, May 18, 2020
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Thieves left behind a big mess after breaking into a local elementary school.
It didn't just happen one time either. It happened several times in a row last week, so why did the crooks keep coming back?
As if it wasn't bad enough that a global pandemic robbed local students of their last two months of school, it appears students and teachers at McBean Elementary School are now also victims of an actual crime.
Part of a message in chalk at McBean Elementary is marked out, but we can still make out what it once said -- "Coronavirus sucks"
We don't think a lot of people would disagree. It's fair the same word can be used to describe what's happened on the inside of the school -- for the third time now.
The damage in the photos of the school got us asking questions. We got our hands on three reports from the Richmond County Board of Education Police.
The first detailing a break-in last Tuesday.
According to the report, on May 12, video footage captured four unknown suspects. The only description was "males in hoodies" with "backpacks."
The report said, the subjects used a classroom chair and threw it multiple times against the windows. In all, the report details three broken windows, a "compact refrigerator thrown to the ground" and greenhouse shelves and a computer monitor shattered.
In another report from May 13, more classrooms were "ransacked," but this time -- a list of technology items taken were all valued around $1,000. The suspects also damaged computer monitors in another classroom, according to the report.
Apparently, the suspects weren't finished. The school was hit again on May 14. This time, a camera catching five people with flashlights -- though "I was unable to identify anybody due to low light visibility."
The report also stated items stolen that night listed the value at $1,400.
It's unclear which of the three break-ins these photos document, but it doesn't really matter. They all sound very similar and seem to be connected, but the BOE police haven't officially linked them.
The good news in all of this: a district's chief public relations officer tells us the items stolen "does not impact our distance learning plan."
But it's still fair to describe it in the same way the chalk describes the coronavirus.
We spoke to and messaged with a number of parents and neighbors today. None of them wanted to go on camera because they fear for their safety. They believe this could be connected to other incidents they call suspicious in the area.
We will provide more information and updates as it comes. Our team did reach out to Richmond County deputies, but they had no reports of the break-ins at McBean since the BOE police are handling the investigation.
UPDATE: Our I-TEAM is told five people have been arrested and charged with burglary in this case. Four of the suspects are 17-years-old, and one is 15-years-old.